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CJ Koome criticizes ex-CJ Mutunga for asking judges to strike

In Summary

  • CJ Martha Koome says ex-CJ Willy Mutunga was against the idea of judges striking during his tenure.
  • During a similar incident in his era, Mutunga opted for negotiations to have President Kenyatta appoint judges.

Chief Justice Martha Koome has criticized former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga for “inciting” judges to strike.

Speaking on Thursday during an event at United Green Movement party’s headquarters in Nairobi, Mutunga said the move would compel the Executive to obey court orders and rule of law.

In her statement, CJ Koome criticized his approach, recalling that during his tenure as CJ, he went for alternative methods of resolving standoffs between the two arms of government.

“It is on record that while serving as Chairperson of JSC, Dr Mutunga disproved any action by judges to down their tools when three Supreme Court judges (Mohamed Ibrahim, J. B Ojwang and Njoki Ndung’u) were indicted with allegations to down their tools,” the ex-Court of Appeal judge detailed.

Koome’s commitment to backlog of cases

Koome argued that at the moment, the judiciary has been putting efforts to clear the backlog of cases, which currently spill to over 700,000. She noted it was a vow she undertook during her swearing-in, and remains committed to fulfilling it.

The CJ also addressed the bone of contention between her docket and President Uhuru Kenyatta which has been the appointment of judges and magistrates.

On Wednesday, Kenyatta, through AG Kihara Kariuki asked the Court of Appeal to suspend orders dictating that he appoints the six rejected judges within 14 days.

In June, he appointed 34 out of 40 judges nominated by the Judicial Service Commission, leaving out Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Aggrey Muchelule and Weldon Korir, Judith Omange and Evans Makori.

Mutunga seemed to have taken Koome’s approach when faced with a similar situation in 2015, where he even urged the Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association to withdraw a suit on the matter and allow room for negotiations.

While respecting his personal opinion, Justice Koome called on Mutunga to offer his support to the sector.


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